Cooking can be considered an art form, as it stimulates several of our senses. Taste and smell are obvious, but the presentation of food can be just as intriguing. Look at all the photos posted on Facebook showing off beautifully prepared meals. The simple sight of delicious food can make our stomachs grumble. A glimpse of Kotomi Nanjo’s stunning cookies instantly evokes artistic admiration before they are enjoyed with a glass of cold milk. If cooking, and in this case baking, is an art form, then dough, frosting and cookie cutters are Nanjo’s mediums.

Growing up, Nanjo was always the creative type, being active in arts and crafts, writing and drawing. She continued her artistic ways at UCLA, where she was a sister of the Chi Alpha Delta sorority.  

“We were always making things (i.e. food, collages, pillows, T-shirts) for birthdays, formals, exchanges and other sorority events, so I had plenty of chances to utilize my creativity,” explains Nanjo.  

Gradually, baking became her most notable talent, a skill that she, surprisingly, developed casually.

“I just picked it up over time and with repetition. The sorority was always making food for social events, and I was always involved,” she shares. “Plus, being broke college students, we ate whatever we could make, so you’re kind of forced to cook up something good and edible. With baking, it was a ‘learn by doing’ type of process, picking up techniques here and there, and expanding on them.”

Anybody can follow a simple recipe to produce a batch of cookies, but Nanjo, on the other hand, utilizes her creative background to make her baked goods stand out.

“The actual process of baking is only half of the job. A blank cookie is like a blank canvas, and there’s so much you can do to make it unique. I was always into arts and crafts as a kid, so I used that kind of creative thinking when designing cookies. Working with icing and frosting is just like working with paint and a pencil, you just have to experiment and try different things to get the specific look you want.”

Her impressive cookies are so well crafted, they look more like cutouts of actual drawings than baked goods. The amount of detail in the designs makes you appreciate the effort and time Nanjo dedicates to each creation. Colored frosting is smoothly and flawlessly spread over the cookie, and icing is used to meticulously accent the details of the inspiration for the batch, which include designs like Hello Kitty, robots and baby hippos.

“I find inspiration everywhere for a new cookie,” says Nanjo. “During the holidays, you have your typical themed ones, but I could be digging through my closet or flipping through a magazine and find something that would spark an idea.”

Her impressive baking reputation spread around the campus community and eventually caught the attention of BakeGreek, a company specializing in Greek alphabet letter shaped cookie cutters. Since Nanjo was in a sorority and had immense talent, BakeGreek felt that she would be the perfect ambassador for the brand. They collaborated to write baking tutorials on BakeGreek’s Web site.

“Cookie cutters, in general, are pretty boring, and you can only do so much with them. With the tutorials, I wanted create a sense of fun. After using BakeGreek’s cookie cutters, customers can follow one of the tutorials to decorate the cookies, making them unique for gifts or fundraisers.  ”

Her easy to follow how-to’s garnered rave reviews from people all over, including various cooking sites and blogs, and even Ivan Arnold, CEO of popular lifestyle brand Tokidoki. He stumbled across a picture of a cookie based off his brand’s unicorn character and he instantly loved it.

Even with this growing buzz, Nanjo still sees baking as just a fun hobby.

“I really appreciate all of the positive feedback, but I’m not trying to get famous off these cookies or make a big business out of it. Baking is an activity I really enjoy, with the creativity behind it. It’s even more fun now, helping others with their creations.”

For more information, visit